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SERAP seeks Welby’s intervention in Sowore’s case

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Worried by what it called arbitrary detention of activists, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, despite a court order, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is seeking the intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for their release.

In an open letter signed by the deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP urged the British cleric to use his good offices, leadership and friendship with President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on him to obey recent court orders involving Sowore and Bakare who remained in detention despite a court order for their release.

Last Sunday in London, Buhari met 63-year-old Welby, who had declared him incorrupt in 2016.SERAP expressed concern about the disturbing trend by state and federal governments to use the court to suppress opposition voices.

The letter dated November 11, 2019 read in part: “We believe you can use your leadership position and influence to persuade President Buhari to promote the rule of law in words and in action by obeying all court orders, including the order for the release of Mr. Sowore and Mr. Bakare from arbitrary detention.

“As the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion worldwide, we believe you can reaffirm your belief in justice, rule of law and the basic human rights of all people by speaking out with a strong voice against the repeated disobedience of court orders and the implicitly lack of respect by the government for the integrity and authority of the Nigerian judiciary.”

Specifically, SERAP asked Welby to clearly and publicly condemn lack of respect for the rule of law and court orders in Nigeria, call for the release of Sowore and Bakare from detention as ordered by the court as well for greater legal protection for human rights activists and journalists in Nigeria who are simply exercising their right to freedom of expression and working to hold their leaders to account.


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